Saturday, February 19, 2011
Finland – 250th Anniversary 19.9.1949
The stamp on this cover was issued on 19.09.1946 to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Finnish Pilotage service. In September 1696 King Charles of Sweded signed an ordinance of pilotage, which combined Southern Finland with the Swedish Pilotage Organisation. A bit of history at this point won’t be out of place. Finland was historically a part of Sweden, and from 1809 onwards, an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire.Finland was declared independent from Russia in 1917. “Sweden – Finland” is an outdated Finnish term referring to the Swedish Kingdom from the Kalmar Union to the Napoleopnic wars, or the period from the 14th to the 18th Century.
The first lighthouse in Finland was built on Utö in 1753. The round lighthouse building was blown up during the Swedish - Russian war of 1808 - 1809. The present lighthouse was built in 1814 under the supervision of Chief Pilot Gustav Brodd. The lantern and the lights have been modernized several times. Utö was also attacked during the First World War. This time it was battleships from the Imperial German navy that attacked Utö in 1915. Among the casualties were one telegraphist and two wounded gunners. The present lens was installed in 1906. At the entrance to the lighthouse there are two memorial plaques. One of them is in memory of the battleship ´Ilmarinen´, which in 1941 ran into a Soviet mine outside Utö and sank. The other describes the attack of the Soviet army on the Utö fort in the beginning of the Winter War in 1939. The Utö fort held out against two Soviet battleships. One of them presumably sank. Brita very kindly sent me this historical cover.